The immigration story of Eka and Rainer, a gay Indonesian couple, centers on their cat, Ghost.
Ghost the white cat lives a seemingly idyllic life with her two dads on the island of Java. But because Eka and Rainer “love each other,” they are persecuted by law enforcement and must constantly move in order to stay safe, sometimes fleeing suddenly from immediate danger, much to Ghost’s distress. Her feelings of vulnerability will be easy for children to understand and sympathize with. The couple applies to immigrate to Canada, and after months of waiting, the three fly to a new home and new life. Stevenson tells the real-life story of Eka Nasution and Rainer Oktovianus with simplicity and clarity for younger audiences, and the author’s note gives extended detail on the couple’s immigration, their application for refugee status on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity persecution, and the Canadian organizations that aided this process. Photoshopped illustrations of Oktovianus’ photographs showcase the family, their journey, and their adjustment to their new environment. Both the primary text and the author’s note are written in accessible language, and centering Ghost creates appeal for young readers, who can easily identify with her family’s longing to live their true lives.
This introduction to LGBTQ human rights for young children is a gentle and effective one.(Picture book. 4-8)